Scott Wolstein tries to skimp on worker pay in Flats development

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The $522 million redevelopment of the East Bank of the Flats was sold to Clevelanders just like so many other publicly-subsidized projects: It will revive downtown! Create new jobs! Hardly anyone could argue with the wisdom of turning a bunch of dilapidated strip joints into thriving offices, shops and condos. In fact, Port Authority leaders thought this project was so important that they sued, threatening to take the existing Flats properties by eminent domain – which is French for “We’re here to take your stuff...” Yet now, it seems, that whole economic growth thing was a bit one-sided. The development group on the project, led by Scott Wolstein, is not eager to pay its construction workers living wages. The company’s now petitioning the city and the Port to get around labor rules, and pay lower than prevailing wages for the residential building section of the project. Apparently, this cash savings is “desperately needed” to keep the project on budget. But what about the grocery budgets of bricklayers and electricians? Maybe now that he won his $147 million public subsidy, Wolstein’s not so worried about them anymore. —Lisa Rab

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